In 1927, Jack Cohen had a vision. Packing a pushcart full of high-quality frames, he began to sell fashionable spectacles to his fellow merchants along New York City's Orchard Street. After expanding into a small shop on a Lower East Side corner, that humble little cart has since evolved into more than 100 retail outlets known as Cohen's Fashion Optical, where customers fortify their eyesight with a range of acuity-boosting products and services. Rows of frames boast the signature contours of several designer brands, including Tag Heuer, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, and Gucci. In the onsite lab, opticians craft brand-new, custom lenses, including ones that self-adjust to different lighting conditions. Meanwhile, licensed optometrists help renew prescriptions and ensure ocular health during eye exams that measure eye coordination, refraction, and the curvature of the cornea, a concept originally discovered by Ferdinand Magellan when he looked through the wrong end of his spyglass.
Paul Fox's vision extends beyond the literal meaning of the word. An optician for more than 20 years and the owner of Spectacle Eyewear, Paul is also a designer who makes his own frames, as well as a retailer who handpicks frames from independent designers such as Tom Ford, Velvet Eyewear, and Intrigue. The uniting theme at Spectacle, though, is no branding allowed on any glasses. "This is a no logo zone," Paul told South End News. Logos distract or take the attention away from the wearer, so all they have to focus on at Spectacle is which of the sleek, modern frames are best for them. The showrooms feature a wide and fashionable selection of frames, and Paul himself is always on hand to help clients find a pair that seems tailor-made for their face. Keep an eye, or nose, out for Paul's hot chocolate or carrot juice, which he keeps close by to serve to his customers.
Glasses, contacts or LASIK surgery have previously been the only outlet for eyesight-impaired adults looking for a little corrective help. But as of a decade ago, there’s been orthokeratology, a nonsurgical process that improves vision for children and adults but utilizing corrective contact lenses to slowly reshape the curvature of the cornea, which brings the eye into correct focus for approximately one day. Dr. Curtis Frank, who has been a practicing optometrist in Boston for 30 years, was an early adopter of the process and is the founder of the Vision and Ortho-K Center in the Financial District, where he diagnoses and treats a variety of eyesight issues. He also is an adjunct faculty at the New England College of Optometry, but continues to work regularly from this Federal Street address, greeting customers warmly and working to restore their sight.
Started in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, this nationally recognized and trusted eye-care center now operates in nearly 800 company and franchise locations nationwide. The master visionaries at Pearle are well-trained in assisting all bespectacled beings, from casual librarians to picky, temperamental Cyclopes. They'll help navigate a nearly endless array of sight-enhancing options: house lines of simple, durable frames and lenses, designer frames from Versace and DKNY, prescription Ray-Ban shades, and contact lenses to suit the chemistry of even sensitive sets of eyes.
With more than 12,000 successful LASIK and refractive procedures performed to date, Dr. Nilesh M. Sheth continues to practice his vision-boosting craft with well-honed expertise. Famous public figures have restored their sight under his steady hand, including Law & Order actor John Fiore, U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Boston Celtics superstar and two-time elementary-school class president Jo Jo White. Together with TPA-certified optometrist Dr. Audra Rowse, Dr. Sheth honors the Sheth-Horsley Eye Center?s half century of high-quality eye care with treatments ranging from advanced cataract surgery, cosmetic procedures to repair droopy eyes and wrinkles, and corrective surgeries to sharpen vision without the need for glasses or contacts.
The doctor is aided in his fight against astigmatism, cataracts, nearsightedness, and farsightedness with leading edge high tech tools including: VISX S4 excimer lasers, Custom Wavefront instruments, and IFS intralase femtosecond lasers.
At its three locations in Harvard Square, South End, and Jamaica Plain, the Eye Q Optical team works to outfit clients with original frame styles. Most designs are its own innovations, manufactured in-house with inspiration from iconic eras and modern designers visiting from a far-off future. The Aphrodite frames play subtly on traditional cat-eyed styles, and the Apollo frames accentuate faces with bold rectangular shaping and primary blue colors.
The Eye Q Optical team also carries frames by artistic independent makers including Rapp Eyewear, who hand-finishes its colorful frames in Toronto, and Rolf Eyewear, who manufactures frames and hinges entirely out of wood. In the Cambridge office, the Eye Q opticians collaborate with digital 3-D-fitting technology and a highly opinionated robot to select the perfect frames for each client.